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Column Packing

Hi,

I have a 4inch x 20inch column section that I would like to pack. It will go on top of a 4 plates 4inch Crystal Dragon. I'm still trying to figure out what would be the best packing that I should use. I have a 50 feet by 5 inches copper roll, but this won't be enough I guess. I was looking at raschig rings but for the volume I need it seems to be a little expensive. I also read that past 3 inch diameter it is not really practical to use scrubbies. What are you guys suggesting?

Thanks in advance.

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Comments

  • Usually the guys use either scrubbies or scoria.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Thanks punkin,

    What would be the best place to get scoria? I tried amazon or ebay wihtout success..

  • smashed up porcelain also works but it does add weight to your column ,

  • edited April 4

    would something like this would work?

    Glass Ball 14mm Marbles @ AliExpress

  • Scoria is a vulcanic rock from the garden center. You can buy it here in Aus by the trailer load or in bags. You want the undyed stuff i reckon.
    It's used as mulch on gardens or in pot plants. Most people would grade it into a certain size.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • When searching for scoria I don't really find anything available in Canada. Is lava rock is the same? Can I use normal lava rocks found at Home Depot or similar?

  • edited April 4

    Best solution is to go to a spring maker and let him make up simple helical springs for you. For a 100mm / 4" column, go for diam 8 x 8.

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  • edited April 4

    Copper pot scrubber corrode. Stainless steel ones do not. I've been running the same stainless steel ones in my packed column for 9 years now. They are still in very good condition.

    I can pick up virgin scoria off of the ground for free (I live on an erupting volcano). I would not put it in my still for any reason. Who knows what the mineral/chemical content of the scorria is? There are some nasty compounds spit out by volcanoes.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I use large SS scrubbies in my packed 4". like @Kapea I've been using the same ones for years. got em at Bunnings (a large hardware store here - like Home Depot in the US).

    Marbles have been used before, the issue is how do you keep em in the column while allowing a free flowing vapour path - similar issue with scoria, SPP or springs.

  • @birzzz I'd steer clear of the glass balls mate unless you know the quality of the glass. Basic glass is not suitable for high strength spirits as it will result in Dealkalization. Stainless scrubbers are cheap and easy to get your hands on in packs of 10 or more.

  • edited April 5

    @TheMechWarrior said: birzzz I'd steer clear of the glass balls mate unless you know the quality of the glass. Basic glass is not suitable for high strength spirits as it will result in Dealkalization. Stainless scrubbers are cheap and easy to get your hands on in packs of 10 or more.

    Thanks for that input, I won't look into glass then. I found a decent deal fo raschig rings but they are sized 6mm. I've read that you shouldn't go less than 1/10 of the diameter of the column for it to be effective. So on my setup, 10mm is the lowest. Is this any true?

    I'm also looking at SS scrubbies, and found this:

    MR. SIGA Stainless Steel Scourer,Pack of 12,30g @ Amazon

    or these:

    New Star Foodservice 54460 Extra Large Stainless Steel Sponges Scrubbers 50g, Set of 12 @ Amazon

    would that do the trick? are they too small?

    Thanks,

  • birzzz jus reading your posts , i didnt realise your from canada . i jus bought copper packing by the 100 foot roll , 52 bucks for 100 feet , from a company called Lee valley tools , i ordered it on line but they have stores all over .

    tim

  • @crozdog said: I use large SS scrubbies in my packed 4". like Kapea I've been using the same ones for years. got em at Bunnings (a large hardware store here - like Home Depot in the US).

    Marbles have been used before, the issue is how do you keep em in the column while allowing a free flowing vapour path - similar issue with scoria, SPP or springs.

    This^^^

  • edited April 5

    OK thanks,

    so the second amazon link I've post would be my best choice?

    this:

    New Star Foodservice 54460 Extra Large Stainless Steel Sponges Scrubbers 50g, Set of 12 @ Amazon

  • Someone just needs to import column packing in bulk from China and break it down to resell.

  • edited April 4

    Lloyd looked into it ages ago, but claimed he couldn't get any that wasn't slathered with machining oil.. Not sure how true that was as we later found out that serval things we were told was not doable simply was not true.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • The machine oil is easily removed with fores and feints, I wouldn't worry about it. Between the fores and feints bath and a sacrificial run the packing comes good inside the first 400mL of the run.

  • Odd, since they are punched and formed, not machined, and generally big punch lines aren't running slathered in oil, since at the speed they run, it would make an astronomical mess.

    Super Pall Rings, Super Rachig, Metal Intalox Saddles - all really good styles. Not the absolute best HETP, BUT packing that can be cleaned in place and effectively rinsed. In addition, packing that will not potentially cause clogging disasters (structurally stable, no tiny passages).

    Dixon mesh rings are more efficient, but don't hold up under their own weight, in addition they are nearly impossible to clean (and cost a fortune).

    Realistically for most of us, using an additional foot or two of less-efficient packing that is easier to work with, and costs 1/10th the price, is a good trade off.

    The best stuff is sold in cubic meter bags, which is an astronomical amount. 35 cubic feet. 12" column by 45 feet high.

  • edited April 5

    Ran across a guy at a garage sale selling a cubic foot box of stainless machine screws. The thing felt like it was a hundred pounds.

    It would make BEAUTIFUL column packing, I bet a nice machine screw would be equally as effective as the very-self-importantly-named "spiral prismatic packing", which I agree, should just be called springs.

  • What was prior mentioned by the US SD gent ... if I have got it correct was ..... he was doing helical springs, and there was a lot of past production oil to take care of. Likewise I am not sure how so, because spring production has minimal oil and is a relatively dry process.

    This was his rig.

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  • Wow pretty impressive rig!!

    I went ahead and bought the large SS scrubbies. Will do a run next week and see how it performs. If it doesn't do well, it's only 25$. Thanks for the advices.

  • Now that is a cool rig. I want one for my garage.

  • @hudsonbaydistiller said: birzzz jus reading your posts , i didnt realise your from canada . i jus bought copper packing by the 100 foot roll , 52 bucks for 100 feet , from a company called Lee valley tools , i ordered it on line but they have stores all over .

    tim

    Lee Valley is a great company and also sells in the US (or at least did the last time I looked). I especially love their tools.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Here's my rig; I'm happily using the SS scrubbers with 500mm of copper packing I rolled into 5 x 100mm rolls. It's a trial VM rig putting out 10L/h of 95.5%abv neutral.

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  • Nicceeee.. I know size doesnt matter but sometimes it does. Great Rig.

  • @MechWarrior, did a CCVM feature in your considerations for a design for the trial still. I am wondering if any commercial distilleries are using CCVM stills? No valve, you can keep the same diameter as the column for the offtake and a simple pully system for raising and lowering the RC coil!

  • @zymurgybob uses a small CCVM in his licensed distillery in the states.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Took the words right outta my mouth, Punkin, Just ran it today, charged with low wines, and collected ~92% at about 1.5l per hour. She's a 2-incher, and she's not real fast.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Technically it's not a true VM as I removed the valve, I found no need for it.

    Just get your off-take diameter right and there's no adjustments of any kind needed. My heads portion is a little larger as I don't get to compress the heads but I recycle the heads and tails anyway. I wanted something foolproof and easy to run.

    This is the prototype. The full-scale version will stand around 6m tall and be around 300-500mm in diameter, consisting of multiple columns. To test the multi column operation the prototype will be used, ie I'll build another 3.5m column or two and attach them to this to see how it all goes.

    This is a fully licensed operation for anyone out there wondering.

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